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Westminster professor chosen as inaugural author to blog exploring DEI efforts in higher education

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Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dr. Diana Ortiz, associate professor of biology at Westminster College, has been selected as one of the first contributors to a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported blog that explores ways educators can create systemic change that advances diversity.

The blog “Disruptor”—an initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (AAAS-IUSE) Program—was launched in January 2021 and will feature monthly posts on the theme of “leveraging this moment of disruption to empower evidence-based systemic change.”

Ortiz—a member of Westminster College’s Equity and Justice Strategic Group and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Faculty Working Group— will introduce readers to strategies used in her epidemiology course that incorporate DEI-related topics and explain how they have impacted her students.

“As a biology and public health educator, writing this blog presents a great opportunity to highlight how we can develop strategies that integrate issues of diversity, equity and inclusion into our courses. In my experience, incorporating these topics into my courses has provided students with wider perspectives which, in some cases, have impacted their future career paths in meaningful ways,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz’ post will appear in fall 2021. Ortiz, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2014, earned her undergraduate degree from the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico, her master’s from Jackson State University and her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

The AAAS-IUSE blog “Disruptor” is dedicated to exploring strategies that empower faculty and other stakeholders to create systemic change that improves diversity, equity, and inclusion at institutions of higher education and supports students from underrepresented and underserved communities to participate and succeed in STEM.

For more information, please contact Ortiz at or 724-946-7784.

To learn more about Westminster's biology major, click here.